Top 10 Defensive Tackles in the 2022 NFL Draft: Jordan Davis skyrocketing

Who are the top defensive tackles in the 2022 NFL Draft? We aim to answer that question with the help of our consensus Top 300 Big Board.

Edge rushers get all the buzz, but did you know that — geometrically — the quickest path to the quarterback is from the interior? Defensive tackles just cut right to the chase, and that’s what we’re going to do as we unveil our top defensive tackles in the 2022 NFL Draft. Here’s our latest top 10 list at PFN, derived from our consensus Top 300 Big Board.

Top 10 Defensive Tackles in the 2022 NFL Draft | 6-10

Here’s our latest list of the top 10 defensive tackles in the 2022 NFL Draft, starting with No. 10.

10) John Ridgeway, Arkansas

Coming in at 10th overall among the top defensive tackles in the 2022 NFL Draft is Arkansas’ John Ridgeway. Ridgeway anchored the middle of the Razorbacks’ line in 2021, logging 39 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks as a key member of the defensive interior. Now, he aims to carry that impact over to the next level.

Ridgeway isn’t an elite athlete, and he’ll likely be confined to roles within 2-technique and 0-technique. But he has some underrated quickness off the line for his 6’5″, 321-pound frame. Ridgeway also has the ability to exert great power. Pad level remains an issue for him, but he has the tools to be a valuable rotational player, especially on hybrid-front teams.

9) Chris Hinton, Michigan

Chris Hinton is a prospect who still feels like he hasn’t shown what he can truly do. Relative to his five-star billing out of high school, Hinton’s collegiate career was somewhat pedestrian. In three seasons with the Wolverines, Hinton only picked up 55 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks.

Nevertheless, you’re drafting Hinton for what he can be, not what he is now. Hinton didn’t necessarily flash extraordinary upside in college, but there is some athleticism to mold. At 6’3 5/8″ and 305 pounds, Hinton has a 31.5″ vertical and a 106″ broad jump, both strong explosiveness numbers. And if there’s any athletic trait that does pop on tape, it’s his eye-opening lateral agility.

8) Matthew Butler, Tennessee

For a good portion of his career at Tennessee, Matthew Butler was an underachiever who struggled to get over the hump. That changed in 2021, when Butler embarked on a career-best campaign, putting up 47 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, and a forced fumble in 13 games. That standout season has now facilitated a steep rise up the draft board. And now, Butler is viewed as a potential Day 2 pick.

His play wasn’t the only factor in his ascent this offseason. Butler also stood out at the East-West Shrine Bowl and tested well at the NFL Combine. He ran a 5.00 40-yard dash at around 6’4″, 297 pounds, and earned a 32″ vertical and a 112″ broad jump. The testing numbers confirm what’s visible on tape: Butler is one of the most explosive DTs in the 2022 NFL Draft, and he also has good length and violent hands.

7) Phidarian Mathis, Alabama

There was a point this offseason where Phidarian Mathis was viewed as a potential first-round pick. That hype has died down a bit, but he’s still a well-regarded prospect, and one of the top defensive tackles in the 2022 NFL Draft. Mathis follows a long line of Alabama defensive tackles to the next level, and he aims to be the next key contributor to rise from the Crimson Tide.

Mathis’ NFL Combine was a little disconcerting because he came in at a trimmed weight and still didn’t test incredibly well. His 109″ broad jump was solid, but his 23.5″ vertical and 4.91 shuttle were relatively disappointing. Even so, it’s important not to get paralyzed by the numbers. On tape, Mathis is a wrecking ball with great energy and power. His motor always runs at 100%, and he also has alignment versatility.

6) Logan Hall, Houston

Houston is quietly becoming a defensive line factory — and a productive one at that. Not long ago, Ed Oliver went top 10 to the Bills. Just last cycle in the 2021 NFL Draft, Payton Turner went in Round 1 to the Saints. Logan Hall might not be a Round 1 pick, but he’s been in that discussion, and he’s almost guaranteed to go in the top 64.

Hall’s place among the top defensive tackles in the 2022 NFL Draft is stable, but his role is not. Rather, Hall is a versatile lineman who can line up all over the defensive front. His best fit may be at 3-technique, but he can set up at 5-technique as a big EDGE, or inch inside as well. Wherever he goes, Hall’s burst and power combination grant him easy access to the pocket.

Top 10 Defensive Tackles in the 2022 NFL Draft | 1-5

Who are our top five defensive tackles in the 2022 NFL Draft?

5) Travis Jones, Connecticut

Think Round 1 is too high for Jordan Davis? Want a nose tackle at a cheaper price instead? Travis Jones might be able to give you what you’re looking for. And in all honesty, he could be a better overall value in Round 2 than Davis in Round 1. That sounds brash, but Jones’ tape is legit.

Jones was far and away the best player on the Connecticut defense, and he won in both phases, providing value as a run blocker and pass rusher. For his 6’4 3/8″, 325-pound frame, Jones offers exciting athletic tools. As he showed at the Senior Bowl, he’s extremely powerful, and Jones also has surprising explosiveness and lateral agility.

4) DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M

DeMarvin Leal entered the year as an arguable top-10 prospect. Seeing him now as just the fourth-ranked 2022 NFL Draft prospect on our top defensive tackles list, in the second-round range, is a bit surprising. However, one could argue that the ascent of players like Perrion Winfrey, Devonte Wyatt, and Davis worked against Leal. He’s still a very intriguing prospect with unique schematic appeal.

Having logged 8.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss in 2021, Leal remains a threat as a pass rusher. At 6’3 7/8″ and 285 pounds, he’s a bit of a tweener. But were he to stay on the interior at the NFL level, or take on a hybrid interior/EDGE role, his athleticism would be a mismatch for blockers at 3-technique. Being that chess piece on the line is a role Leal can fulfill.

3) Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma

Perrion Winfrey flashed in 2020 after coming to Oklahoma from the JUCO ranks. But the entire 2021 cycle has been a constant eruption for the former Sooner. His stock has only kept rising through the season, the Senior Bowl, and the NFL Combine. And now, he’s regarded as a potential first-round selection.

Winfrey had a strong campaign in 2021, racking up 5.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss. But his offseason has arguably been more impressive. Winfrey was dominant all week at the Reese’s Senior Bowl, and he ran well at the NFL Combine, earning a 4.89 at 6’3 5/8″, 290 pounds. Winfrey has massive 35 1/4″ arms, which — combined with his explosiveness — allow him elite power generation capacity. His relentless motor is just an added bonus.

2) Devonte Wyatt, Georgia

Right now, the Georgia Bulldogs have a monopoly on the top of the 2022 NFL Draft defensive tackle rankings. Davis is a common favorite, but his teammate Devonte Wyatt is quietly a very strong prospect in his own right. The two play very different roles, but Wyatt is just as impactful in his own way.

Wyatt fits more at 3-technique at the next level, but he has some alignment versatility outside of 0-tech. Wyatt is dense and compact, standing around 6’3″, 304 pounds. He carries an immense amount of power with his punches with his frame. But the most exciting part of his profile is undoubtedly his explosiveness. Wyatt has 4.77 speed to go along with a 29″ vertical and a 111″ broad jump. His burst and lateral mobility give him a constant edge.

1) Jordan Davis, Georgia

We’re half-convinced Jordan Davis is an extra-terrestrial being. So ranking him first among the defensive tackles in the 2022 NFL Draft is not only a nod to his rare talent, but also an attempt to appease his civilization and avoid a real-life re-enactment of Independence Day. But jokes aside, Davis is a truly generational athlete. He tested with the second-highest Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of all time, behind only Calvin Johnson.

At 6’6 3/8″ and 341 pounds, with 34″ arms, Davis ran a 4.78 40-yard dash while posting a 32″ vertical and a 123″ broad jump. Davis doesn’t always get to use that athleticism, as he most often takes on a two-gapping role at 0-technique. But Davis is already an elite run defender, and he has the straight-line burst and power to develop into a dangerous pass-rushing threat at the center of the line.

Honorable Mentions

  • Haskell Garrett, Ohio State
  • Thomas Booker, Stanford
  • Matt Henningsen, Wisconsin
  • Otito Ogbonnia, UCLA
  • Neil Farrell Jr., LSU
  • Eyioma Uwazurike, Iowa State

Ian Cummings is a Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and follow him on Twitter: @IC_Draft.

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